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A contemporary material which is biodegradable and made out of only natural ingredients.

OCRAGELA : Red Ochre and a Wise Man

3D viewing room

Ochre, gelatin, glycerin, and water. With these four natural substances, Soowon Chae has developed a contemporary material, called Ocragela, which is sustainable and biodegradable.

With red ochre, early human beings had dragged out various functions for a natural coloring agent, curing wounds, tanning leathers, and protecting their skins from the sun. So, I not only use ochre as a coloring agent, but also as a tribute to the curiosity and creativity of the prehistoric man, and the respect early human beings showed for nature.

How different is the story behind gelatin, often regarded as a kind of ‘inferior’ residual product of the meat-processing industry. That is precisely why I chose it as a main ingredient to create a sustainable material with completely new possibilities. And to twist the stereotyping and the commercial value by contemporary man in a society dominated by the principles of capitalism and to question the authentic values for the better world.

This 1st edition of furniture made of Ocragela, named ANIMA series, questions the value of standardized mass-products of today. As anima, an origin word of animus which means rational soul, life or intelligence, signifies ‘breath’, this design is inspired by intuitive life-form of nature and processed in one-of-a-kind way from carving the wood to upholstering the structures with Ocragela.

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Soowon Chae graduated from Design Academy Eindhoven in 2019 and lives and works in Eindhoven. The primitive and unspoiled beauty of nature, the innate creativity of man and the interaction between man and nature are themes that fascinate him. He is particularly interested in how meanings and functions change over time and how authentic values are given a new interpretation. He likes to have those ideas and thoughts reflected in his designs and products as a story.